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"Morning Joe" Scarborough

“Morning Joe” Scarborough

As far as TV talking heads go, Joe Scarborough is not the best, but he’s far from the worst. Still, every once in a while Joe makes a comment, apparently off-the-cuff, that makes no sense at all, as he did during his discussion of the Devolution of the GOP in his August 29, 2016 broadcast.

Scarborough’s jumping off point was a comparison between the demeanor of Bush the Elder (a/k/a, Bush 41, a/k/a George H.W.) and that of the GOP’s current presidential nominee, Prima Donald Trump.

Scarborough discussed his visit to the Bush compound in Kennebunkport, Maine, which retains its beauty as a quaint New England coastal town, so long as you can forget who the current Maine governor is. Of Bush 41 Scarborough said:

They make others around them feel special despite the fact that they have lived the most remarkable of lives, serving in Congress, running the Republican National Committee, heading up the CIA, being the U.N. Ambassador as well as the U.S. Ambassador to China, serving as Ronald Reagan’s vice president and then leading America as the 41st president of the United States.

But good luck getting George or Barbara Bush talking about themselves. They just don’t do it and they never will. First of all, their parents didn’t allow it. And besides, that kind of thing wasn’t done in the world from which they came. It is just one small way that the ethos of Walker’s Point is so radically different from the mindset that infects Donald Trump’s garish corner office high above 5th Avenue in Trump Towers.

As [Jon] Meacham and I walked down the driveway after saying goodbye to the Bushes, Jon lamented the fact that the same Republican Party that nominated a man like Bush, who rarely spoke about himself, would a quarter century later select a reality TV showman who obsessively talked about little else. Meacham paraphrased Henry Adams in saying that the historical devolvement from Bush to Trump proves that Darwin’s theory of evolution was less compelling when applied to American politics.

Bush the Elder has a lot to be proud of. He served his country both in uniform and in government. He was a fighter pilot in WWII and was shot down in combat with Japanese forces. (As Trump might say,  he only likes fighter pilots who weren’t shot down, he’s gotta tellya.). I don’t take any of that away from Bush 41.

But Scarborough’s notion that not talking about yourself, or not tooting your own horn to say it more directly, is a virtue in and of itself that we all should strive for is absolute nonsense.

Of course Bush 41 never talked about himself. He never had to. He is a walking, breathing pillar of the Republican Establishment, and when the word “establishment” is used in connection with anyone in Clan Bush it is always spelled with a capital “E.”

Bush 41’s father was Prescott S. Bush, a former U.S. Senator for Connecticut, who was a Skull & Bones guy at Yale undergrad (as were Bush 41 and Bush 43), the secret frat where the scions of the Elite of the most elite Elites quaff alcoholic beverages prior to attaining a legal, if not responsible, drinking age and perform pranks that would look very different in 2016 than when they were supposedly performed (e.g., in 1918, when Prescott Bush allegedly led a nocturnal mission to exhume Geronimo’s skull).

(Oh, those kids!)

H.W.’s Wikipedia entry states that he started his business career as a sales clerk with Dresser Industries. Sounds like a humble beginning. But the entry goes on to state that Dresser was a subsidiary of Brown Brothers Harriman, where his father, Prescott Bush, had served as a director for 22 years.

So, Joe Scarborough, please think about that for a minute. I’ll bet H.W. didn’t need to talk much about himself when he got that sales clerk job at Dresser. Suppose, Joe, that you were the supervisor of this new young sales clerk from the Northeast who likes to go by his dual middle initials “H.W.” What are the odds that you’d treat him a bit differently than some other poor schmoe sales clerk? Would you give H.W. a bad performance review, even if he deserved it?

Not if you wanted to keep your job.

Mind, I’m not saying H.W. didn’t do a terrific job as sales clerk. But when your pop sits on the Board of Directors of your employer’s corporate parent,  the reality of who’s the boss and who’s the new hire undergoes a fundamental alteration.

Prescott Bush, Bush 41 and Bush 43 all lived in a rarefied world of great oil wealth and Republican Establishment connections. Bush 43 is a case history all by himself, so I’ll leave that alone, but it’s obvious that, political campaigns aside, not one of them ever had to sell his abilities or his name to anyone to land a job.

I agree that Prima Donald Trump never stops running his mouth, and that’s bad for him and for anyone who’s forced to listen. But for ordinary mortals who have to hustle their butts to make a living, you’d better toot your own horn if you want to eat and keep a roof over your head.


Samuel Prescott Bush (1863-1948), grandfather of Bush 41

So Joe, before you go off on another tilt about praising modesty and silence as saintly virtues, maybe you should look into Samuel Prescott Bush’s life. He’s the guy who started the Bush family bankroll rolling. I’ll bet old Samuel P. Bush had substantial “book smarts” (he had an engineering degree from Stevens Institute) as well as “street smarts,” some business acumen (given where he started and where he wound up), plus a bit of luck.

I’m sure old Sam P. Bush had to brag a little bit about himself to get hired for his first job, and maybe for a few others.


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Fox News Chieftain

Fox News Chieftain

The newswires are reporting that Headman Roger Ailes is, or soon will be, defenestrated from the Fox News citadel by Clan Murdoch. The Sparkspread reports and you decide: will Ailes be fired, or will he tender his resignation? Vote now!

If you think he’ll be fired, pick the first headline, but if you think he’ll walk beforehand, pick the second.

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Melanie Neilan is appearing in a principal role in Steppenwolf Theater’s Chicago premiere of the play Russian Transport, which runs from February 6 – May 11, 2014.
Steppenwolf Ensemble Member Tim Hopper and Melanie Neilan in Russian Transport

Steppenwolf Ensemble Member Tim Hopper and Melanie Neilan in Russian Transport

The play is about a rowdy Russian family in the Sheepshead Bay section of Brooklyn that is on a daily hustle to achieve the American Dream. When Uncle Boris arrives from the old country, his mysterious business ventures force the family to decide just how far they are willing to go to come out on top. A funny, passionate family drama that slyly transforms into a heart-pounding thriller, Russian Transport is a fascinating look at the contemporary American immigrant experience.
Steppenwolf Ensemble Member Mariann Mayberry and Melanie Neilan in Russian Transport

Steppenwolf Ensemble Member Mariann Mayberry and Melanie Neilan in Russian Transport

More info & tickets at Steppenwolf’s web site.

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Let's Put It Over There

Let’s Put It Over There

While the modern world hems and haws about what to do with spent nuclear fuel, paleontologists recently discovered that even the dinosaurs were able to work cooperatively on their waste problems:

BBC News – Giant prehistoric toilet unearthed.

And remember that these critters had brains the size of a walnut.

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On November 1, the Circuit Court granted ComEd’s motion to dismiss the class action seeking $182 million in damages for ComEd’s non-compliance with an Illinois Commerce Commission order that required ComEd to begin smart meter installations in September 2012. The court ruled that the ICC had exclusive jurisdiction, and stated that it had to defer to the ICC to determine the extent to which the delay in smart meter installations adversely impacted ComEd’s customers’ rates and future service, and what remedy, if any, should be employed.

Although going into this case we knew that the jurisdictional lines are sometimes drawn rather finely, we respectfully differ with the court’s decision. We maintain that the case is properly brought in the Circuit Court and have filed an appeal.

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Let’s not overlook the bright side of the current controversies over the new Healthcare.gov web site and the NSA’s extensive surveillance of everyone on the planet.

NSA Chief James Clapper

NSA Chief James Clapper

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius

If Healthcare.gov loses all your personal medical records, not to worry because NSA is sure to have copies.

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The WSJ reports that Ron Binz, President Obama’s choice to head the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, is running into friction from Democrats on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. Joe Manchin, Democrat from coal state West Virginia, just issued a rather caustic opposition statement, saying Mr. Binz’s appointment would, among other things, “threaten the reliability of the electrical grid.” Political Diary: Obama Nominee in Trouble – WSJ.com.

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